CASE STUDY
Blackstar Coffee Roasters, QLD

It’s not all about the beans

Marty Richards recounts the process of making the perfect coffee - a 20g double ristretto shot - with the same complexity and passion as any winemaker preparing their next vintage.  

Marty is the owner of boutique coffee roaster and cafe, Blackstar Coffee Roasters in Brisbane’s eclectic suburb of West End, where caffeine junkies flock for the very best 160ml flat white and weekend breakfast.  

What started as a coffee roasting business in 2007 expanded into a retail cafe the following year to meet the demand for fresh, boutique coffee.  

With limited cash flow in the start-up phase and knowing the very best equipment was just as important as the roasted beans, Marty looked at several financing options to fund the Blackstar dream, including Silver Chef’s rental solution.  

“We started Blackstar in the middle of a recession, with no prior experience running a cafe business, so preserving capital early was a high priority for us,” Marty says. 

“Silver Chef really allowed us to get off the ground as we couldn’t afford to buy the equipment we wanted and didn’t have equity for a bank loan.” 

“To produce top quality coffee you must invest in top quality equipment,” explains Marty. “The best coffee equipment comes at a price - the coffee machine I rented through Silver Chef costs $12,500.”

You don’t have to buy the equipment outright. That’s the benefit of using Silver Chef!

“The grinders we prefer are also not the cheapest on the market at $3,300 and while this is a big initial investment, it produces a high quality grind plus it reduces coffee waste.

Eugene Phua, part-owner of Campos in Queensland, also insists that if you want a consistently excellent cup of coffee, you have to pay for it.

“We insist cafe owners who use Campos coffee purchase the same coffee machine we use at our flagship store in Fortitude Valley and that can cost around $15,000 including the grinder,” says Eugene.

“We want to make sure that every time a customer has a Campos coffee, no matter where in Queensland, it is served as a consistent product,” Eugene explains. “Having identical machinery eliminates a major variance and you are one big step closer to producing a consistently great cup of coffee.”

While it’s an expensive piece of equipment, Eugene says you don’t have to buy the equipment outright. That’s the benefit of using Silver Chef.

“When you’re starting up you can rent the equipment and preserve any funds for running other aspects of the business.

While there has been a surge in new coffee roasting businesses in Brisbane in recent years, Marty says he welcomes the competition and believes Blackstar and boutique roasting in general, has a great future.

“Coffee roasting is a competitive market, but having survived our start-up phase, through recessions and floods, I’m confident Blackstar will keep growing.”

Marty Richards
Blackstar Coffee Roasters, QLD

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